Step 1 Attention on the Helper Copy
Step 1 – Attention on the Helper
A prerequisite for this exercise is to teach the dog “ran” command, which means contact between the Handler’s left leg and the shoulder of the dog – 01:47 sec. You can give the command and help the dog with the leash to come into the contact with your leg. The pressure goes away, you mark and continue playing with the dog. You should go forward and sideways. This contact makes it easier for the dog to walk with you behind the Helper.
We are now beginning to work with attention on the Helper.
- Have an assistant hold a ball at about 5 meters away from you (about 16 feet).
- Place the dog in the Basic Position. There is no preference whether it is a “sit” or a “down.”
- The moment the dog looks at the assistant, mark, and reinforce.
- It is important that the marker comes from the Helper and not the Handler or the dog will be focused on the Handler while waiting for the command to bite. The Handler can move his finger to let the Assistant know to mark and drop the ball – 03:19 sec.
Once we did this while stationary, we will try to take a few steps. Starting with just one. When the dog forges – stop and guide him into the correct position with the leash, tell him softly “good job” and continue – 04:11 sec. You can either use continuous leash pressure or gentle pops. Some dogs are in so much drive even with the ball that they can use Opposition Reflex on you. You can use little pops. Just do not overdo it.
You should walk forward and, sometimes, to the right to make the dog work harder – 09:52 sec. You can take one step forward, one to the side, forward, to the side, etc.
Once you start walking – do not hesitate and tiptoe or expect anything from the dog. Keep communicating to him where the correct position is for which he is reinforced.
If the dog is too focused on the Handler, increase the reinforcement rate to the ball. This will bring Helper back into the focus.
If the dog is too focused on the Helper, make certain not to reinforce for the sloppy position. Take your time and go back to fewer steps.
Find the right balance for you and the dog.